Does Linking Your Own Websites to Each Other Hurt Rankings?
Many website owners own multiple websites and are often trying to decide if it would hurt their rankings if they linked the websites to each other. The reason they might want to do this would either be to improve their rankings and search engine positions or to add value to their site(s). Suppose that you had two websites and one of them discussed all aspects of hunting like where to go, types of guns to use, and how to get licensed. The second website you owned only focused on deer hunting, and though both sites have highly unique content you don’t want to cause any damage to your SEO efforts by violating Googles quality guidelines, so begs question will linking to your own websites be harmful to your search engine optimization efforts?
The answer really depends on the number of websites you own, and while it is not likely that you would gain any authority or PageRank by linking one site to another website, you almost certainly would destroy your SEO and any authority by linking lots of self-owned sites together.
Linking from one of your own websites to another of your sites is not in any way a violation of Googles quality guidelines, especially if it makes perfect sense to do so. In fact, if it makes for a better user experience and increases conversions then by all means you should do it. The problem with linking to your own websites occurs when you own 25, 100 or even more websites and begin linking each of them together making it look a lot more like a link network and something that is clearly not organic. There is nothing natural about having fifty similar websites all linking together and if it looks like your trying to trick the search engines you can bet it will eventually do more harm than good.
If you built one hundred websites all talking about the same subject it would look a little odd when you own so many domains with similar urls all linking back and forth to each other. Additionally, most people that own hundreds of websites on the same subject end up being very shallow sites with little original content or something that really makes one site more valuable than all of the others they own and you’re more likely to see doorways and stuff like that.
Some argue that Google algorithms are not fully capable of detecting link networks citing examples like CNET and CBS which link together and have extremely high PageRank. The reason for this is probably because they have so much high quality content being added daily and also have massive inbound links from many other third party websites.